Saturday, December 29, 2012

Merry Christmas from John Duncan - Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Merry Christmas from John Duncan
Minister of

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development


Last year it was Attawaspiskat. A state of emergency, just in time for Christmas, actually just in time for the cold winter weather was what confronted the minister. The way he handled it was a remarkable feat of arrogance, incompetence, and total ignorance. Had it not been for the work of the Red Cross, the generous donations of ordinary Canadians, and the resilience of the residents of the reserve, their chief and counsel, it would have been a world-class disaster.

It’s a year later now and guess what? There’s a brand new state of emergency declared at the reserve right next door to Attawaspiskat. There is a serious fuel shortage to heat buildings, forcing school and public building shutdowns. There are twenty-one homes that were flooded during the summer whose electrical systems need repair before re-using. All of this leads to unemployment, withdrawal of services and basic shutdown of the reserve’s operating system, piling up the hardships of its residents.

All of this and Stumble-bum Duncan remains invisible. Maybe he’s still licking his wounds from last Christmas, or maybe, having delivered his Christmas disaster for this year, is already planning the next one. I rather suspect the latter is the case. The government has become so steeped in intransigence as concerns Aboriginal people; it can’t seem to recognize genuine catastrophes it creates in the Aboriginal communities. I don’t know, maybe it’s deliberate. It seems the government has two philosophies in the way it runs its affairs: proactive and reactive. The former is for international affairs, trade development and image building, while the latter is for domestic affairs. I swear that if you told them to go home and mind their own business, they would have no idea what you’re talking about. They’d likely take it as an insult rather than a demand that they go home and look after their domestic affairs.

Even our “esteemed” prime minister is part of this mindset. Last year Theresa Spence, chief of Attawaspiskat, was exonerated of any wrongdoing in the spending of the funds available to her. She is an honest leader of her people, genuinely concerned about their well-being. This year she demanded an audience with the said “esteemed” prime minister to discuss the needs of her people. When he didn’t respond, she went on a hunger strike and continues to this day. Still no response from the P.M. I think the bugger is afraid of her. So he hides behind the perennial W.A.S.P. mentality, hoping she will go away.

I think the time has passed for direct negotiation with the Canadian government. It is now a matter for the world court to deal with. They should apprehend Duncan and the Prime minister and hold them in custody in The Hague until these abuses are dealt with. There is neither need nor reason for Ms. Spence to be martyred for what she believes to be justice for her people. We are no longer in the middle ages for God’s sake and its time to move from a reactive to a proactive model of governance. For nearly a hundred years except for a break during WWI the government imposed the Crow Rate on the railways to level the playing field for farmers and mining companies to ship their products to Thunder Bay at the same cost as their eastern counterparts. What’s wrong with imposing the same restriction on transportation companies traveling up north? You’d instantly fix the disparity in the cost of living in the north. Legislate something! Hells bells, I’m just a simple old white guy and even I can see solutions to these seemingly insurmountable problems. They are nothing that a little honesty and goodwill can’t fix. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.


Just sayin’. 


Friday, December 21, 2012

Suffer The Little Chidren

Suffer the Little Children to Come Unto Me

I had determined that I wasn’t going to write about the terrible tragedy that took place last Friday in Newtown Connecticut. It was just too terrible to come to grips with. The image of the little children’s lives being snuffed out was like a hot knife cutting through my heart. I wanted to put a blanket of protection over the souls of their parents and loved ones against the terrible pain of loss. Their grief must be unimaginable.

But in the cold light of day I decided that I must come forward with things that are evident, but not being said. These are only my observations, but it’s time we held a mirror up to humanity to see how it really is, and what we see is that we is really a collection of murderers. And that goes right from the heads of state to the homeless person on the street.

We all have the capacity to choose to do murder. Ask any combat soldier. He’ll tell you. Of course we also have the capacity to choose not to do murder. It is a choice we make. But why in God’s name do we still do it? The people we butcher no longer care. They are in a better place. The only thing this sort of butchery accomplishes is a trail of pain and sorrow for the loved ones of the victims, and a feeling of shame and disgust for the perpetrators.

It is not enough to hug our children and tell them that we love them. That’s nothing but a feel good exercise. What we have to do it to teach them about love and respect. That’s where we are falling down. Parents, grand parents, community elders and leaders, none of us are doing our jobs. The teachers on the other hand did more than just step up to the plate. They stood fearlessly between the killer and the children that were their charges without a moment’s hesitation. And they paid the price.

 Yet, people like the parents of the perpetrator produced and raised such a killer. What does that tell you? It tells me someone was not doing his or her job. But you can’t entirely put the blame on the parents either. You have to look at the whole American structure. Ever since the second amendment to the American constitution, the United States has become a war-like nation. But the right to bear arms was intended to defend itself against its enemies, not to destroy itself, especially its children. But the arms manufacturers and the National Rifle Association who represent roughly a five billion dollar industry annually have strong lobby tentacles into Washington. They seem to be a strangely powerful group who dictate to their terms to the government. By what means I don’t know but I suspect it has something to with a lot of money. And the government by its inaction on the gun problem is directly implicit in the murders.

If you called the president a cold-blooded killer in the murder of these twenty children and six of their teachers, everyone would look at you in disbelief. How could you possibly say such a thing? He was genuinely heart-broken over the incident and would have done anything to prevent it. Oh, really? I listened to him speaking about it on the news this afternoon, and it was all fine until one reporter posed the question about the expiry of restrictions on assault firearms and munitions that had expired a couple of years ago. If he was so concerned, where had he been on this issue for the past couple of years? 

He had the most interesting answer. What he said was that when he took office he was faced with firstly, the greatest recession since the nineteen thirties, two wars, the BP oil spill, Hurricane Katrina, so his agenda was quite busy. True enough, but the mention of two wars (presumably to keep the U.S. safe) was a bit of an anomaly. In the two wars he mentions, how many women and children hasn’t he as Commander-in-chief pulled the trigger on? It’s not him, but his office. Before that it was Vietnam. Remember little nine-year-old Kim Fuk running down the street with her hair and her clothes on fire? How many people didn’t she leave behind in that terrible Napalm bombing at the hands of the Americans? That’s what Americans do – they go to other countries and they hurt people. Yet they consider themselves as free, democratic, peace-loving people, but in reality they are no different than the Syrians, for example.

And at home, there is no time for such things as keeping our children safe. One must address the “Fiscal Cliff” or go overseas to murder innocent children and their mothers. American children and their teachers will have to wait. That’s sort of like the shoemaker whose children run around barefoot in the snow except that this is a little more serious!

Well, he says he wants something on his desk by January. That might happen, and it might not. I for one would not bet on it, and even if it does, what will he do about it?

It seems to me that the administration should have a good look at itself in the mirror to see who they have become. I know I’m picking on the Americans. I should also include Canadians and all other countries because this is not an exclusively American problem, but if that country wants to lead the world, it had better take care of business at home before venturing elsewhere. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.


Just sayin’.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

God and the Devil

God and the Devil

I never in my life thought I’d live to see the day that I’d witness an actual battle between God and Satan. But by gum, I’m watching it right now! The only thing I’m confused about is who is God and who is Satan. Well, it’s no wonder. God and Satan are having trouble identifying themselves. That in fact, is probably what the fight is all about in the first place.

Now you are confused too of course. Let me clear it up. The God and Satan I’m talking about are Gary Bettman and Don Fehr, fighting over the world of NHL Hockey. The absolute rage Bettman displays at Fehr and his satanic henchmen leaves no doubt in anyone’s mind that he, Gary Bettman IS God, and you’d better watch out because he is liable to flood every ice rink right up to the top of the boards if Fehr and his gang don’t toe the line.

Don Fehr of course, comes off as the voice of reason, negotiating in good faith on behalf of his impoverished players, a truly Godly gesture. He is totally befuddled and saddened by this satanic windstorm called Bettman. Oh, like he never saw it coming!

And it’s all over money and the NHL (National Hockey League) and how to divide up the profits garnered from fans and advertisers. What do they think – that hockey is an essential service?

Yeah I’m sure that’s what they think all right. About the only people who consider it an essential service are the thousands that are losing their jobs because they thought it was a reliable resource. Ha! They’re about as reliable as a bald set of tires on the Zamboni. These guys have been playing really bad hockey for at least fifty years, they’ve ramped up the violence and thrown the entertainment value under the bus. Yet they’re braying away like so many jackasses that you’d think the noise is directly proportionate to their own importance.

Well I got a news flash for God and Satan (whichever is which). Your performances, whenever they air on television are even worse than the sub-standard hockey you produce. Every time we see you wagging your ‘good’ or ‘evil’ fingers we get a  little more disgusted and a little more anti-NHL. Quite frankly, we’d rather buy jerseys that say “Mighty Mouse Midgets” than those of the mythical billion-dollar Toronto Maple Leafs. And in fact, we’d rather watch them play too. It turns out to be more exciting entertainment anyway.

So we don’t care who is God and who is Satan. We don’t care who is right or wrong. We don’t even care if there is no NHL season. And get this: We don’t even care if there’s an NHL. As far as I’m concerned, you can take the whole business and stick it where the sun don’t shine and follow behind it yourselves. Gone is gone, and good riddance to bad rubbish! At least that’s the way it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.


Just sayin’.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Family Glue

Family Glue

‘- - - - - - and to my faithful servant Sarah who faithfully looked after the house and my wife and me, I bequeath the house. And to my butler I bequeath the Rolls Royce. Out of the cash in my estate, each shall have a million dollars to continue their lives in comfort. The rest of my estate shall be given to the charity selected by my solicitor. And finally, to my loser son who always bad-mouthed me and said I never gave him the time of day – It’s two o’clock.’

“And that concludes the reading of the will. Thank you all for coming. There are a few documents to sign and the estate will be distributed accordingly.”

Well, families. To tell the truth I never gave the subject a passing thought until this morning when I read a piece about families on facebook. And the subject kept growing so I started to think about it. The more I thought, the darker the cloud in my mind grew. So instead of thinking about things that could get personal, I decided to draw an analogy of the situation.

It’s a little bit like walking down the path of life’s journey and stepping on a piece of chewing gum. Even stopping to take off your shoe and scraping the gum off it doesn’t entirely do the job. There’s always that bit of residue there to stick to the pavement. It can ruin the whole trip if you let it. There’s all sorts of annoying little pebbles it picks up along the way. After a while it can get downright uncomfortable if you let it.

As usual, there’s a couple of choices you have in dealing with the problem. You can either just keep walking, slowly getting used to the lump under your foot until there’s no more room for additional pebbles, or you can keep stopping to scrape them off. Well, it’s not much of a choice when you figure that every time you clean your shoes you make room for more of these useless pebbles.

Keeping in mind what the real subject matter of this analogy is, there’s a certain satisfaction in thinking about continually stepping on these hangers-on and crushing them under the weight of your foot every time you take a step. Besides, after a while there’s no room left for additional pebbles. That’s got to be comforting.

Well let’s face it. There’s always bound to be some discomfort on the journey through life. Otherwise it would be a pretty dull adventure. And when the journey’s over, you don’t need your shoes anymore anyway so they just get tossed (along with whatever is stuck to them).

When I think about it, the journey of my life is far too important to me, with all its hopes and dreams, to worry about the odd pebble that sticks to the bottom of my shoe. As long as I keep this thought as I travel along, my mind will be on the goal (and I’ll have a little amusement along the way). At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.


Just sayin’.  

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Harvey and Ethyl

This is a bit of a departure from the usual observations, but it turned out to be such a good story I thought I would share it. I hope you enjoy.

Harvey and Ethyl



“What, Ethyl?”

“It stinks in here.”

“It’s not bad. Just a little exhaust fumes, that’s all. Nothin you won’t get used to.”

“How long you think we’re goin’ to have to stay in here?”

“I dunno. I suppose until somebody gets up enough gumption to deal with us.”

“Well this is just ridiculous – just absolutely intolerable. I never, not in my whole life did I ever imagine we’d ever end up like this. I’m heartbroken, Harvey.”

“Good God woman! What are you bitchin’ about? You just got here last week. I’ve been sittin here for pretty near five years already. The only thing that kept me goin’ was the idea that you’d join me sooner or later, and I’d at least have some company. This business of bein’ cremated and havin’ your ashes stuck in a stupid urn sure ain’t what I figured it to be. Once they put the lid on and sealed it, I was stuck.”

“I suppose that’s partly my fault Harvey, but I’m really not sorry. I just wanted you to wait for me, so I stuck you in the garage for the time being. I didn’t think I’d last another five years and I didn’t want you Tom-cattin’ around on me in the mean time.”

“Aw Ethyl, you know I wouldn’t do that! You’re still my beautiful girl.”

“I am not! I’m a pile of bloody ashes in a cheap plastic bag inside this fancy urn. And that’s just what I feel like. You’re goin’ to get me all upset Harvey!”

“Now Ethyl, calm yourself. Get a grip. It ain’t the end of the world you know. At least you’re not jammed up against a rotten old battery like I am.”

“Haha, I got news for you Harvey. It is the end of the world – at least for us. We’re dead; remember? And they went and stuck a gerry can of gas next to me. At least that’s what it smells like.”

“Don’t remind me. I just gotta figure a way to get our spirits outa here. Just think. If our dutiful daughter and her screwball husband had done what it said in the will, our ashes would be scattered all over the rose garden by now and we could be doin’ what we used to do out there. I’m getting all horny just thinkin’ about it.”

“Aw jeez, do dead people still think about such things?”

“Apparently. What else is there to think about while we’re trying to get the hell outa here? Too bad we couldn’ta been put in the same urn. We’d blow the lid right off the thing.”

“Oh stop it Harve. You’ll get me all excited.” Ethyl gave a little laugh. “Hey, I wonder-” She trailed off.

“What? What woman? If you got any ideas, spout them out, for God’s sakes!”

“Well,” she mused, “suppose the next time they come into the garage, we yell our fool heads off. Do you think they might hear us?”

“Nah, I don’t think so. I swear at them every time they show up, and call them every name under the sun. Doesn’t help a bit except for my ego.”

“I feel terribly tired all of a sudden. I didn’t think you could get tired when you’re dead.”

“It’s these damned fool ashes,” said Harvey. “They just drag a person down. “Why don’t you just rest a bit and I’ll pretend to cuddle you – just like the old days.”

“Okay, that sounds comforting. Hey, get your hand outa there.”

“Haha. That’s not my hand.”

“Well, you old bugger!”

“Shhh. Someone’s coming.”

It was Ben Hobman, their next-door neighbor, was coming for the gerry can of special gas for the roto-tiller. As he grabbed it down, he noticed it was right next to the two urns of his late neighbors. He instinctively swept his straw hat off his head, held it to his chest and said, “Howdy neighbors.”

To their daughter Nancy who had accompanied him he said, “What in thunder are these urns doing here in the garage? Did you already scatter their ashes in the rose garden like they said in their will?”

Nancy started to cry. “No, we couldn’t,” she sobbed. “We just couldn’t bring ourselves to do it. And Stan didn’t want the urns in the house.”

“Well Judas H. Priest!” Boomed Ben. “So ya stuck ‘em out here in the garage between a dead battery and a gas can! What kinda respect is that?”

“Well, I didn’t know where else to out them,” Nancy whimpered.

“So ya cleaned out the house and moved right in lickety split and stuck the old folks out in the garage like they was nobody and life goes on? Is that it?”

No, no!” wailed Nancy. “You don’t understand!”

“Oh I understand alright. I understand you got no brains in your heads at all. You’re so busy thinkin’ about yourselves and your own comfort, you forget about your own parents. You can’t just leave them in limbo like that! You’re interferin’ with the completion of the circle of life. You know – ‘ashes to ashes, dust to dust’.  Yet you’ve got their spirits sealed up in a tin can out in the garage like so much junk. They’re locked in there and can’t get out.”

“Oh God,” blubbered Nancy.

“Listen,” said Ben, “I’ve known your parents longer than you have. We been neighbors for more than forty years so I probably know them better than you do. So if you can’t bring yourself to do it, I’ll do it for you. Actually, I’ll do it for them. It’s time that rose garden got a little attention anyways.”

He picked up the two urns and set them in the wheel barrow standing in the corner, wheeling it out toward a tattered rose garden at the end of the property.

“What’s happening?” asked Ethyl, a little shaken up.

“I don’t really know,” replied Harvey. “That sounded like Ben. I think he’s taking us somewhere.”

There was quiet for some time then a tapping on the lid of the urns. Holy crap, that was noisy! The sharp taps gave way to a prying sound and suddenly there was air. Oh my God, nice clean fresh air. Ben had already hoed the flowerbeds into pretty good shape. Now he gently dumped the ashes out into the wheelbarrow. Gingerly, as if he were dealing with living remains of his friends, he mixed the ashes of both together and spread them evenly around the bushes. They seemed to take on a sparkle as he worked. Ben felt extremely satisfied having completed the job. Looking back from the garage where he deposited the wheelbarrow, he felt a satisfaction of having helped his neighbors complete the circle of life.

“This is cozy,” said Harvey.

“Get off me you big galoot.” She was giggling gleefully.








Saturday, November 24, 2012

War Games

War Games

The kissing cousins are at it again – the Israelites and the Philistines I mean. Only the rocks they’re throwin’ at each other these days got warheads on ‘em. Well, they gotta keep up with the times I suppose. Must be the time again to collect American, European and Arab aid money again – keep the cash flow goin’.

Well you know, pretty well everybody in the Middle East except the Israelites wants to annihilate the Israelites. They’re pretty well agreed on that. I mean them Israelites have been a pain in the ass in the region since 1947 and they ain’t getting’ any more likeable with time. They just ain’t neighborly. Somebody lobs a couple of rocks at them and they get all surly for God’s sakes.

And then them Europeans who were responsible for re-drawin’ the boundaries in the first place get all upset about the turmoil. What did they expect, peace in Coocooland? And now Egypt is getting’ in the thick of things. Holy crap! There goes the Suez Canal! Well that’s just a big expensive drainage ditch anyways – used to drain the oil from the area. They might just as well fill it in. The world now has the Northwest Passage, provided global warming keeps up. And there appears to be enough oil in Canada and the U.S. it seems, to run over to China and Russia and probably Europe in the next little while.

So who really needs these crazy Arabs anyway? The way they’re goin’ at each other, maybe we just wanna pull back a bit. Look at Syria, for example. They’re makin’ great strides in thinin’ out their population. By the look of things it won’t be long before there’s only the army and the government left. So you know who’s next don’t you. The army don’t need all them palaces anyway.

Of course Iran has their noses in the business too, stirrin’ up trouble to take the heat off of their bomb making enterprise. They keep feeding rockets to the Philistines and guns to the Syrians a mile a minute. That little pip-squeak prime minister o’ theirs has got his nose in everybody’s business so far, nobody can shake him off. He’s even got Russia and China bamboozled. But he’d better watch them Israelites though. They know where he’s enriching his uranium, getting ready to make a big nuclear bomb. The only thing he’s not countin’ on it seems is that the Israelites got nuclear power too. Hell, they invented it.

So now with all the “He started it” yellin’ goin’ on, somebody’s liable to get pissed off and throw a nuke right in the middle of Iran to cause a double explosion. And that’ll be that for the Middle East. All that’ll be left will be a great big open pit oil lake where the Suez Canal used to be. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.


Just sayin’.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Motor Mouths

Motor Mouths


My first response any time someone under forty talks to me is – ‘Huh?’ Holy Hannah, I never figured anybody could talk that fast so consistently. They got machine gun mouths on ‘em. What? They got computer chips in their faces or what?



“Oh – good morning Mr. Epp.” (translation)

“What’s your special today?”


“Huh? Just let me see a menu.”

Turns out the special is strawberry pancakes, brown toast and a poached egg. I figure they’re short a ‘tat’ or two. I point my finger to it and say “I’llhavethat” as fast as I can.

The waitress says “Huh?”

Ha! I got her back. Let’s see how she likes being talked to like that. I smile sweetly. She figures it out.

I don’t know how they manage to understand a word they themselves say, talking that fast, never mind anybody else. It must be an evolutionary thing that’s happening before our very eyes. Well look at the written word for example. We used to complain about spelling mistakes, but they’re not mistakes at all. People intentionally spell that way. I don’t know how that will bode for dictionaries in the future. But the screwed up written word seems to have migrated to the spoken word.

I know I’m not a fast talker, never was, but trying to keep up with these youngsters is really tough. Last week I took some of my recordings and kept cranking up the speed until it was equal to that of these young speakers. What a riot that turned out to be. It sounded just plain silly – a little like Chip and Dale, the chipmunks.

Well I don’t know where this is all going to go, but it seems like a collision course with disaster. It certainly throws a monkey wrench into my storytelling, that’s for sure. My fastest little bedtime story that I used to tell the kids for a joke suddenly becomes relevant. It’s a little like reading the title of Leo Tolstoi’s “War and Peace” and saying you’ve read the whole book.

Apparently it’s all about multi-tasking. They got no time for anything – not even talking, for heaven’s sake. They’re too busy multi-tasking. The problem is they can’t even do that successfully. There was a documentary on TV last night where one of them fast talking young people was pitted against a middle aged old klutz in a multi-tasking exercise of focusing on a particular task at hand. Turns out the old geyser had a much better handle on focusing than the young whipper-snapper.

So what does that tell us? It tells me we’re losing again. Not only do they not have time to talk properly, they can’t focus either. No wonder the world is going to hell in a hand basket. It wasn’t all that long ago that we had the ability to remember a story word for word without any written notes, and had the focus sufficient to listen to the whole thing.  Now suddenly we babble away at lightning speed, unable to understand the content of what is said, and without the ability to focus long enough to figure it out.

 To me that’s a net loss to humanity- what they used to call backsliding. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.


Just sayin’.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Achtung! The Rise and Fall of the American Empire

Achtung! The Rise and Fall of the American Empire.


Did you ever watch a scene unfold and think ‘I’ve seen this exact same thing play out before’? I’m talking about the American race for power. Yeah I know, it’s politics again, but wait ‘til you hear what I’ve got to say. It wasn’t until after the results came in and somebody was doing a post mortem on the election that the difference between democrats and republicans really struck me. It reflects not only the position of the two parties but also the population as a whole.

The way the voting translated was this; the republicans took sixty percent of the white vote – the highest percentage ever in U.S. history. However, the minorities gave an overwhelming majority to the democrats. What does that tell you in no uncertain terms? It tells me that republicans think that the U.S. is a white man’s country that no one else has any right to. It’s sort of like post WWI Germany where Hitler figured that the Aryan people were far superior to anyone else. Well it took a bit of doing but he finally came to power and began systematically removing the inferior nations from his sight. In fact, he had plans to do this around the world and he would have, had not the ‘inferior nations’ kicked his sorry ass and larn’t him a severe lesson. He should have got an inkling about his wrong thinking when Jessie Owens smoked the competition in the 1936 Olympics right under his nose. But the lesson was ignored and well, you know what happened to Hitler and his gang. But who knows? They’re a ‘stiff necked’ bunch who don’t give up easily and some are still hiding in South America, even in Europe and they’re still plotting an overthrow. Perhaps some of them are even hiding in the American Republican Party. Wouldn’t surprise me any, given the similarities.

The Democrats on the other hand reached out to all the minorities, and were rewarded accordingly. In his thank-you speech, Obama acknowledged and thanked each group, mentioning (probably for the first time ever) Native Americans in the group, incidentally on the same day that a friend of mine was verbally attacked for being Indian. In a masterful piece of oratory he embraced all these factions and charged them with the responsibility to come together and energize the nation and bring it toward what it should become. He seemed to be speaking from the heart.

The Republicans in the meantime don’t seem to realize that they’re surrounded, with only two options: either embrace bi-partisanship and survive, or fall on their own sword and disappear. I guess they’ve chosen the latter because the Congressional speaker already announced that tomorrow it would be business as usual. That doesn’t seem to worry a wily old fox like Obama. He’ll just let them outsmart themselves. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.


Just sayin’.  

Saturday, November 3, 2012



We’ve had floods, massive floods that covered half the province. We’ve had snowstorms and blizzards where you can’t see beyond the end of your nose. We’ve had tornadoes that re-allocated real estate from here to there, droughts that caused all kinds of havoc, but three things we’ve never had are sea water flooding our streets, or a major earthquake, or monumental stupidity.

Well, that’s what I wanted to address – stupidity I mean, especially the monumental kind. Natural disasters are Mother Nature’s business, and she does what she does with no questions asked or apologies given. If she decides to do something, you’d better get the hell out of the road or suffer the consequences.

But stupidity is the exclusive domain of humanity. Every time there is a natural disaster of any kind, it becomes more evident, no more so than at the CBC. What I’m talking about is the aftermath of the earthquake in B.C. the other day. Wendy Mesley, one of CBC’s senior reporters had the head of B.C.’s emergency measures organization on the T.V. carpet and was cross-examining her about the lateness of the organization in notifying people about the earthquake and a possible tsunami. Apparently it took the U.S. six minutes to send out warnings while we in Canada waited for FORTY-SIX minutes. Why was that, she wanted to know in no uncertain terms?

The lady calmly explained that people had been educated to recognize the earthquake itself as the warning to get into their cars and hit for higher ground. Makes sense doesn’t it? Obviously a lot of people agreed because the roads were crowded everywhere.

Not good enough for old Wendy. She was hell-bent for election to get the woman to admit that the emergency measures organization was negligent in advising the public. C’mon Wendy, how much more of a warning can you get than to have your house shaking to know enough to get your ass out of there? Gawd, and even Peter Mansbridge fell into that mindset.

I think back to that disastrous tsunami in Indonesia a few years back where hundreds of thousands lost their lives, many needlessly. I remember thinking, why do these people build their businesses right on the seashore? They deliberately expose themselves to danger. That’s their fault. What struck me at that time was that elephants in the area moved to higher ground in plenty of time. Not an elephant life was lost. Hm – food for thought. Those who waited for an emergency measures announcement died. Those who listened to Mother Nature survived.

Well, that’s not the point. The point is that paying attention to these nincompoops and their ideas about doing nothing until notified by emergency measures organizations can easily be fatal. At times like these, nobody gives a rip about entertainment value of the news. I’ll tell you what though. If they were to use all that hot air and energy to co-ordinate rescues, escape routes, directions to shelters and safe places instead of nailing somebody to the proverbial cross for their own self-gratification, they might just look a little less silly. And in fact, they might even be seen as being useful. Hah! That would be a first. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.


Just sayin’. 




Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Head-In-Sand Syndrome

The Head-In-Sand Syndrome


I was watching the American political debate the other night (for lack of something else to do). Quite surprisingly, I learned something new again. Go figure. You know how I’ve described the various political arenas as sandboxes. Usually it’s in the context of its occupants kicking sand in each other’s faces. That’s pretty well the norm in any political arena. But now I see an entirely different use for the ‘sandbox’.

Apparently, if you stick your head in it far enough, you see a whole different view of the world in terms of how you perceive it and it perceives you. The picture down there is an absolutely amazing snapshot. Apparently America is the most powerful country on earth (as it looks from down there in the American sandbox). Not only that, but it also represents peace and prosperity and ‘the American dream’. Well, let’s see how that measures up.

It must be one helluva view down there. “America” according to them is the United States of America. The fact that the second largest (geographical) country in the world which is also located in ‘America’, sits right on top of them escapes their view. And they don’t even remember that they are sitting on top of Mexico, also part of “America”. You’d think they’d remember. They went to war with us way back in1812. We (mainly with the help of Tecumseh) kicked the snot out of them – even burned down their White House. Mind you, I hear rumors that they think they won that war, so maybe they think that Canada belongs to the United States, or maybe it’s just another state. And Mexico, right below them; well Jeez, they fought a few wars with them guys. Remember the Alamo? When it comes right down to it, these ‘American’ folks are nothing more than the ham and cheese in the sandwich known as North America (and I use that analogy advisedly). Oh, and then there’s South America, which is a whole other continent. Ah well, they’re all backwards in South America anyway and they speak them foreign languages over there so they obviously don’t count.

Well, peaceful: The second amendment pretty well takes care of that. By the eighteen sixties, there didn’t seem to be anybody else to boss around, so they went to war with themselves: killed half a million people. That didn’t turn out too good, so they waited for other opportunities and finally went to war with the country of ‘Europe’ during WWI and II. Then they did a police action in Korea, then Vietnam, ad infinitum. Now they’re in a war with a country called ‘The Middle East’. And that other country: ‘Africa’, well they don’t really count for much except them Somalians who keep stealing ships for costly ransom. So much for peace and peaceful.

Prosperity: I think what they’re talking about there is the top one percent of the population – you know – the ones with the big kickbacks and top salaries. The other ninety-nine percent are the ones you make promises to at election time, but that’s only for a short period of time. That’s just one of those nuisances that will go away after the election.

Oh, and the ‘American dream’: Well we can all dream can’t we?

It’s hard to say what kind of sand castles these politicians are building down at the bottom of the sandbox but as self-anointed rulers of the world, they must be pretty fancy. With all that borrowed Chinese money they can afford to be lavish.

But did you ever see what happens to a sand castle if someone steps on it? It’s not a pretty sight. Well, they’ll find out. Or at least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.


Just sayin’.  

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Bullying Culture

The Bullying Culture

I wasn’t going to talk about bullying, but with all the kafuffle about it going on, I guess I’d better weigh in. Just because it’s now happening in cyberspace doesn’t mean it’s a new phenomenon for heaven’s sake. I was just reading a poem of Robert Service that was written about a hundred years ago addressing the remedy for this very thing. In fact, if you think about it, it’s been going on forever if you look at examples of Hannibal, Genghis Kahn, Alexander the Great and so on. It’s a natural phenomenon. That’s how you get what you want without getting into a physical confrontation.

What we have to get through our heads is the fact that it exists – period. The question is why do these children feel so alone and battered? Don’t they have a family? Don’t they have parents who will teach them and encourage them and comfort them? The answer to that is a pretty well self-evident NO.

Ya, ya, I know. The old guy is bellyachin’ about families again. You darn right I am! Dad is staying with his girlfriend, mom is shacked up with her boyfriend, and the kids are in day care under the supervision of some twenty-year-old worker who hasn’t got a clue about life skills. What sort of stupid family is that? Whatever family values mom and dad might have had at one time have been thrown out the window in exchange with self-gratification. I hear it all the time; ‘Oh the children will adapt.’ Yeah, right. So the children, fragile and unprepared for the pain that is coming their way decide life ain’t worth it and so they off themselves. Who’s to say they’re not better off?

In the meantime parents cry for their dead child who hasn’t had a chance at life yet, they say while the community wrings its hands at such a tragedy, and the do-gooders form all sorts of support groups to deal with the calamity. Well. Where the hell were they when the kid was born. Where the hell were they when the child was growing?

You know, families are not a new phenomenon either. They’ve been around for a long time. It’s just recently that we’ve decided to mess with them – to restructure them and to slough off the responsibilities associated with them. We want all the perks that come with raising a family; i.e. bragging rights, the possibility of grand children, child welfare allowance. But the responsibility of teaching and instilling confidence in the child – well we leave that to someone else; whoever has the expertise in that. That kind of gives us time for our own pursuits.

The child in the meantime comes into this world and looks around at what he or she is in store for. Seeing nothing but nastiness, it says “Who needs this? I’m outa here!” and leaves this miserable world behind. Oh sure, short-term pain, but what is that compared to the long-term pain of parents who are incompetent, or on drugs, or drunk, or just too bloody busy. Think about it. If you’re a little kid all alone seemingly in a world of seven billion nasty people continually putting you down, that’s a pretty scary thought.

We shouldn’t be crying for the child at all. We should instead be mourning the loss of our family values, at our own inadequacy and incompetence. Having done that, we should then get busy and fix it before it is all forgotten and we don’t know how to do it anymore. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.


Just sayin’.


p.s. As I was finishing this piece I heard some woman on the T.V. saying that we shouldn’t be too quick to criminalize this sort of behavior because children after all don’t realize what sort of hurt they’re causing. They perhaps do this in a joking way and you don’t want to give them a criminal record for that. Oh no? Oh yes! There have to be consequences and severe ones – instantly! I have no patience for these do-gooders who insist on diluting consequences for malicious acts. Perpetrators are perpetrators – not victims. Get your head on straight woman!

Saturday, October 13, 2012



A number of years ago I was exploring the streets of Pearl City on the island of Oahu in Hawaii when I came across something I hadn’t seen before. Of course, in Hawaii you see many things that wouldn’t be imagined in wintry Manitoba. A couple of chickens were tethered in the front yard of a residence, strutting and scratching like chickens do. Naive as I was, I thought they were just pet birds. It never occurred to me that they might be fighting cocks. Thinking back on the flaming colors of their plumage, I imagine that’s exactly what they were.

Well that’s not unusual you know. Back when I was a kid, there was all kinds of chickens around within the city limits. Well what with wartime rationing, eggs was a good source of protein. Not only that, but the odd roast chicken on the table wasn’t at all a bad investment. You’d be surprised how much company one of them attracted.

That’s why I was so surprised at the item in the news yesterday that a woman was fighting for the right to keep a couple of chickens in her city yard. What? You now need to go to court to keep a couple of chickens? Can you imagine going into the law courts building with a handful of chicken defending lawyers looking for the chicken room?

“Which way to the chicken prosecutor?”

“Two doors down from homicide, on the left.”

I can’t even imagine a crown prosecutor who would like to be known as someone who might go after chickens for gawd sakes. What I’d like to know is who is the nincompoop who crafted this idiot bylaw. It must have been a slow day at City Hall. Jeez, if they want to go after dangerous birds, let them take on the majestic Canada Geese for leaving their many deposits all over the city as a show of disdain for the bylaws.

What I’d like to see is a complete reversal of the chicken bylaw to require people to keep chickens within city limits if they have the yard space, right along with vegetable gardens. In fact it should be a special requirement of food banks to do this. Chickens are after all the most benevolent friends of mankind. They give their eggs freely for us to enjoy. And when we hang them up by their feet to slit their throats, they just hang there quietly and let us do it. Did you ever see a cow do that, or a pig? Not on your life! And while we’re at it, we can get away from that miserable processing plant in Brooks Alberta that includes a dose of E. coli in its processing.

What’ll they think of next – banning children? No, I think city councilors should focus on fixing streets and cleaning sidewalks in winter rather than sticking their urban noses in things they know nothing about. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.


Just sayin’.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Back to the Future News

Back to the Future News

Journalistic junk! It used to be that journalists reported the news as it happened. That’s why we called it news. We don’t get that anymore. What we get now is anticipated news, in other words, news that hasn’t happened yet but is expected to. For example; last week reporters were all over Justin Trudeau who said he’d announce next Tuesday whether or not he might run for the leadership of the liberal party. In typical Trudeau fashion he told them to just wait. That’s all the reporters wanted was the rumors. It would have been a little disappointing had he succumbed to their pressure. Then there’d be nothing to speculate about. This way though, the news was abuzz with speculation about Trudeau, his potential rivals, even the future of the liberal party. Newsrooms were busy, pundits were busy, even pollsters were busy. Holy Toledo! That’s a big spike in employment on news that hasn’t even happened yet. I guess you might call that making something out of nothing.

Well, and that’s not the only thing there are rumors about. Anywhere from that Omar Kadr kid’s future in Millhaven to his family’s Al Qaeda leanings to the NHL dealings; you name it and they’re speculating about it. It’s apparently not what makes the world go ‘round, but what (may or may not) make the world go ‘round at sometime in the future.

I don’t really think there’s a reporter who can actually report the news when it happens. When somebody sets fire to something or unloads his firearm into somebody’s body, it’s usual for it to be reported by a cub reporter. That’s kid stuff. Leave the what- ifs and the might-bes to the senior staff.

You know come to think of it, that’s probably how we got to where we are. Well just think of it. Remember Dick Tracy’s wrist radio, or Flash Gordon’s super equipment, or even the Batmobile? There you have it. We are what we imagine we are. I wouldn’t be surprised if one day soon we don’t go running around in little coveralls with a club knocking each other down like the Mario Brothers. At least that way, we’ll be getting our exercise.

It’s a sad state of affairs when our evolution over the last century has progressed according to the dictates of comic books. And the journalists, well let’s face it there aren’t any anymore. It’s just as well. Nobody can spell properly anyway. And that snotnose Trudeau was just leading the speculators by the nose. He did indeed announce his candidacy exactly when he said he would. By starting a rumor about a rumor, he drew a big crowd to the hall where he made his announcement and got good press coverage. So I guess there is a use for these speculators after all. It’s almost comic book-like. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.


Just sayin’. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Quebec Students Protest Again

                                               Quebec Students Protest Again

They got an inch, now they’re going for a mile. Well I think they’ve got a point – sort of. But they’re going after the wrong people – sort of. The thing is that the legislation is all wrong, not only in Quebec, but everywhere. It should be updated all across the country. I agree with the students that they should not have to pay to provide employers with the talent they need to run their companies. At the same time I do not agree that students should be able to take some artsie-fartsie program that leads nowhere other than to teach the same course to others for free, or to be able to go to university on daddy’s dime as a professional student.

What I do agree with is that governments should put an education tax upon employers to provide for such education according to industry’s needs as part of their business license. This would soon establish a substantial college fund on which students may borrow to pay for their tuition. Once a degree or diploma has been achieved and the student is hired on by industry, the industry buys up the student’s loans, and the student is free and clear of any debt. The investment then is that of industry. That’s just as it should be. If students on the other hand don’t obtain their degrees or diplomas or are not hired on by industry – well – tough titty. They’re on their own dime.

If you think that this wouldn’t lay out a whole new dynamic for students and studies as well as industry and commerce, think again. And the legislatures would finally be able to do what their name implies – that is – legislate. Universities and colleges would offer courses as dictated by industry and commerce as opposed to some wing-ding idea coming out of some intellectual’s academic imagination. That will finally give some useful purpose to these institutions of higher learning.

I know universities have long had the reputation of being institutions where people can explore intellectual pursuits of every kind and to be able to freely discuss and debate the merits of such pursuits. Well, that might be a laudable hobby, but it’s not sustainable. Anyone wanting to participate in such activities will have to pay for it. Well really, there’s even an alternate solution to that too. I’m sure the universities could put up brown paper bag dispensers. That way students with that passion for the search for knowledge can put some coin into the machine, take the bag into a corner, stick their heads into them and meditate. That’s cash and carry intelligence. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.


Just sayin’.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Speed Bumps

Speed Bumps

Well, we like our speed don’t we? Mayor Katz set off another bomb the other day saying that the city was thinking of looking into reducing speed limits in town. The response on facebook was like static machine gun fire. I just happened to mention what speeds were like in the not too distant past and immediately got dumped on from all quarters. Holy regulation Batman! Touchy, touchy, touchy. As it is, nobody follows speed limits anyway. There’s that stupid ten km. leeway in the speed limit that leaves me wondering where the slow lane is anyway. Jeez, a couple of years ago some Alberta redneck was speeding down Henderson Highway, going through an amber light when he was caught on one of them radar cameras. When he saw the flash go off he slammed on his brakes, backed up his pickup truck, took a rifle down from the gun rack behind the seat and shot the damned camera. Satisfied, he drove off. Needless to say, Winnipeg’s finest had a chat with him later about the incident ( having his license number on camera).
Well, that notwithstanding, it seems to reflect the general attitude of drivers. One gets the idea that when they’re in their vehicle they feel like they’re in their own living room and can’t be told what to do. So they text, talk on the phone, eat their breakfasts, read books. You name it and somebody will be doing it. Well everything that is except driving. I want to know whatever happened to paying attention to the road. Cripes, did you ever notice the number of drivers flying through stop signs in residential districts? Last time I looked at those red signs on the corners, they said STOP. I’ve never seen one that says GO FOR IT.
A couple of winters ago my lovely white Hyundai Sonata got Tee-boned by a woman who came screaming out her car saying she had to get to the dentist for a surgery, basically blaming me for being in her road and driving a white car in the snow. She never mentioned that she was required to yield the right-of way though, just that she would be late getting to the dentist. I could quote you chapter and verse about people I know that have had similar experiences, usually ending up in a write off of the vehicles involved.
I’ll tell you what. Multi tasking behind the wheel of a car ain’t such a good idea. It might be if you considered that driving the blamed vehicle was the primary task. Forty and fifty clicks per hour ain’t such a bad speed. It’s actually quite comfortable until you get them cowboys climbing up your tail. The only thing you have to do is to leave wherever on time to get to the other wherever on time, or at all. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Congress - or the Senate - or Parliament

Freedom of expression is an inaliable right, so they say, offensive or not. In the western world we take that to mean we can say what we feel about what offends us. In the middle east, they have a different perspective. They just blow up whoever offends them. Freedom of expression - it's a matter of how you look at it.

Congress – or the Senate – or Parliament
Who’d a thought I’d learn something new at my age? Whether I’ll remember or not is another matter. That’s why I write these things down. Frank sent me an email this morning outlining the names of various animal groups – you know – like a chicken flock, a herd of cows, a pride of lions, and so on. I knew most of these already except for the last one. It’s called a Congress – of baboons. Actually, Frank called it a Parliament of baboons. I guess in a sense, it’s the same thing.
I suppose congress and/or parliament might be insulted at such a reference, especially if they saw the pictures that accompanied the email. But perhaps with a bit of honest soul searching and even a consultation with the senate – ironically called “The House of Sober Second Thought” they might find that the definition is not too far off the mark.
The baboons on the other hand may well be offended at being compared to a bunch of greasy, spineless cheaters of their own species. Baboons after all, have a code of honor to defend and these sub-standard humans just don’t measure up. Is it any wonder that they’re all yellin’ and screamin’ and actin’ up? The thing is that this has serious implications. To cite the author of this information, I can only refer to his tirade here: . Have a look at it. It’s a frightening thought. I didn’t check to see if the author is a human representative of the baboon species, or perhaps a real baboon with a pseudonym. But it points up the seriousness of it. If the American Congress keeps acting the way it does (or Canadian Parliament for that matter) historians will be writing a sad tale very soon. Well we’re their neighbors after all and there’s bound to be a spill over effect on us as well – sort of like acid rain.
As I write this, there is a story on the TV about some real estate developer in the U.S. making an inflammatory film about the prophet Mohammed. The Moslems in Egypt and Libya took offence and burned down the American Consulate in Libya, killing the Ambassador and two others. And the film’s author - he’s in hiding somewhere, presumably in the U.S. You’d think that this was one of those unfortunate things that nobody could control – until you hear that the Consulate had been warned that trouble could be expected over the trailer.
At the same time here in Canada we’re expelling the Iranian Ambassador and his crew for undisclosed reasons. They remain undisclosed if you take old man Toews’ explanation of things. The Iranians however saw it coming and were all packed and ready to go before they even got notice.
Obviously we are too lazy or apathetic to do anything about it, so I had a marvelous idea as to how to rectify the problem. How many baboons are in zoos and otherwise in captivity around the world? They are literally prisoners of the particular state they’re in. Supposing we released them all into the various houses of congress and/or parliament. They would after all be in their natural environment. We wouldn’t even have to elect them. They could just go in there and straighten the whole mess out. It’s like chicken soup – Vouldn’t hoit. Well at least that’s the way it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Banking System

The Banking System
The bank earnings are out again and by God, they’re doing well – sailed right through the recession without missing a beat. Profits are up there in the hundreds of millions, even topping a billion in a couple of cases. That’s good news for shareholders.
Shareholders – these are the people who buy shares or bank stocks and are paid dividends based on the number of shares they buy. I had a friend who used to do that and he did pretty well at it too.
I looked to see what these people get paid to earn that kind of money. Ha! Four, five, six million dollars for CEO’s. That’s a pretty good salary. At the other end of the spectrum, clerks, tellers and the like get ten bucks an hour – a fair spread between top and bottom, typical big business. It kind of looks like the only way to make money in the banking business is either to buy and sell shares depending on the market, or to be in upper management in the bank itself. Everything else just sucks.
That’s about where everything takes a left turn. Here’s how I see the picture. We the depositors give our money over to the banks to look after on our behalf. They charge us for that and it’s not unreasonable in concept. After all, the banks should get paid for work that they do. Mind you, some say that the service charges border on gouging. Be that as it may, we the depositors, by way of our deposits provide the banks with the capital they need to invest in mortgages, business loans and so on. This then is their source of revenue over and above the service charges. That’s what they make their billion dollar profits on after paying their top executives millions in salaries and bonuses.
The banks then get to keep the profits they make and we get to keep our money in the banks for them to use to make more profits and line the pockets of their upper management. The shareholders get “dividends” amounting to a hill of beans. The depositors get “high interest rates” of about one to three percent.
Well, the banks got all these profits just sitting there collecting dust. I don’t know what they use them for, but we still keep on depositing and contributing to their profits. Oh, we can get our money back at par, less the service charges any time we want. And maybe that’s what we should just do – get our money back. The banks don’t really need it anymore with all the profits they’ve accumulated. They should really be self-sustainable by now. That would be an interesting exercise – to discover what the banks are investing in and do the same thing, of course on a smaller scale. Still, we could pay ourselves the big bucks the same way the banks do. In the words of Woody Allen in one of his skits, they should go forth, be fruitful and multiply – but not in those words. A friend of mine was lecturing his son one day about money saying; ‘Why are you working for your money? It should be working for you’. Sound advice, I’d say.
But, too lazy to do our homework, we continue to deposit money into banks and let our money work for them. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Great White North Fiasco

The Great White North Fiasco
Look at that! We’ve got a Great White North! And our prime minister has discovered it! Just imagine, of all the prime ministers we’ve had, he’s the first to become aware of this magnificent land of opportunity. Not only are there diamonds oil and gas up there, but also the cost of living is ten times that of southern Canada. What an opportunity for the merchants of Toronto! There’d be something there for everyone, if only someone was living there.
Did you take note of how we are serving notice of our presence in the area? We’re not saber rattling or making loud noises about our military prowess to warn off foreign interests. No we’re not doing that at all. We are after all, a civilized, peaceful nation. No, we’re just searching for the remains of Lord Franklin’s ships lying at the bottom of Davey Jones’s Locker up there. The icebreaker Sir Wilfred Laurier needs to be commissioned to facilitate the peaceful search (it’s not for patrolling the arctic ocean). Well and the robotic submarine that must go down to find these wrecks also just happens to have the ability to map the whole ocean floor (which is just an incidental byproduct of this archaeological exercise). What a smooth move, Harper! Nobody will ever suspect your real intent. At least the politicians won’t. Well, what do you expect? They’re politicians. But somebody must have noticed, judging by all the other icebreakers in the area.
Aha! Now we know why Canada is dragging its ass on global warming. They’ve got to get the Northwest Passage opened up to get at all that oil and gas you know, in order to ship it to Asia and to Russia. Oops! Maybe somebody spilled the beans. The icebreaker traffic is getting heavy out there. The thing is that China already owns half the oil business in Alberta and who knows what else. And Russia has a number of flags planted on the Arctic Ocean floor, and maybe even a nuclear submarine or two. That leaves Denmark sailing around claiming everything that pokes its head out of the ocean on the horizon.
Its kind of looking like Canada is turning into a giant Winnipeg. Now them critters in Toronto and Ottawa will get to know what it feels like to be the world’s warehouse while head office (Beijing) moves all its (our) products around.
And Lord Franklin - well he was only an excuse to make a lot of noise up north. It’s a good thing we have California orange juice we can sell to the Inuit for eighteen bucks a liter. That’ll give us an income in case we get short changed by head office. Now if only we could figure out how to populate the north, we could chalk up some pretty good sales. At least that’s the way it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.
Just sayin’.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Mene, Mene, Tekel, u Pharsin

Mene, Mene, Tekel, u Pharsin

Twenty-five hundred years ago, Daniel knew what these words written by a dismembered hand on the wall of King Belshazzar’s castle meant. The king abruptly found out when he lost his life that very night. Babylon found out when the Persians sacked the city.
Even if this had only been a parable to illustrate what happens when you disregard the conventions of decent living, it would have been a powerful one. Unfortunately for the Babylonians, it was not. It was reality.
The Manitoba jackrabbit has a grazing territory of about a square mile, which it patrols against intruders. As the population increases which, given the prolificacy of rabbits, it does, the job of protecting its territory becomes more and more stressful. The poor rabbit runs his proverbial tail off to keep intruders out, and ultimately has a heart attack and dies. That too is a telling lesson. No less the Manitoba Swamp Shrew runs itself into fatal exhaustion protecting its property.
And what have we learned from these factual examples? Nothing, it seems. There is an obvious flaw in the human inner eye. It’s been clouded over by civilization. Our obsessive-compulsive drive for profits overrides any human consideration. The miners’ strike in South Africa is a prime example. The miners are demanding a fair wage and they know they’re in for trouble so they arm themselves for protection. The mine owners call the cops who mow the miners down with automatic weapons. Then the mine CEO tells the miners they’d better be back to work by Monday or risk being fired. I suppose he figures it’s better to be fired than be fired upon. He obviously hasn’t assessed the mindset of his miners.
Then there’s the Enbridge fiasco in Canada and the U.S. They want to cut a strip through Sioux Territory and continue on to the Gulf of Mexico. The Sioux say ‘Get off our land!’ But it’s perfectly safe say Enbridge who in the mean time have a couple of big pipe ruptures and resultant oil spills. Well then says Enbridge along with the Canadian Government; we’ll take it up to Kitimat. ‘Get off our land!’ say the native tribes in B.C. But it’s perfectly safe insist Enbridge who in the meantime have another pipe rupture. Suddenly China, which has a massive investment in the Alberta Oil Sands, shows up in the north with an icebreaker. Look at that – a Chinese icebreaker. What a coincidence! So you know where the pipeline is going next. I mean, how many Inuit are up there to stop it? Haha! Did you ever see a bunch of white guys get harpooned? Do they really think the Inuit are so stupid as to not notice what’s going on in their homeland?
But they keep trying. They don’t seem to notice the dissention their machinations are causing. Have they not seen what is happening in the Middle East? Have they not noticed the rumblings in their own nations? Have they not noticed that people have lost the fear of authority and are willing to take a bullet for the sake of their beliefs?
Mene, Mene, Tekel, u Pharsin. That is what is written on the walls of the rich and powerful. And it won’t be long before they are popping off like the jackrabbit or the Manitoba swamp shrew. At least that’s how it seems from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Mamamamamamammary Glands

Mamamamamamammary Glands
Who’da thought I would be discussing mammary glands in this blog? Well not me, and that’s for sure. But somebody on facebook opened up the topic as a serious discussion and – well – I had to put in my two cents worth, along with everybody else. Seems it was a hot topic.
The piece on facebook featured two photographs, one of a woman feeding her baby, and the other of three well endowed bikini clad women. The argument was why was the woman in the act of feeding her baby considered socially unacceptable while the other three are considered desirable. Good question. It must be a guy thing.
In the first instance, just think of what would happen to people like Carnation Evaporated Milk if all these darned mothers started breast-feeding their babies. And what would happen to the health care business if our babies started growing up healthy? God forbid. And another thing, while we’re on the subject, the act of a small child suckling at it’s mother’s breast is reported to be a highly erotic feeling for the mother, perhaps a reward for the stretch marks the little buggers put all over her belly during her pregnancy. Probably puts a damper on those big hairy hands and faces trying to emulate what a baby does.
If I were a woman, I’d tell the men to kiss my ass and continue doing what comes naturally. Of course, that could be taken seriously and prompt a whole new fashion design reminiscent of Nick the Plumber. The women could put a little red beauty spot on each cheek like the Hindus do on their foreheads. Wouldn’t that be a hoot?
To address the picture of the three buxom bikini babes, this is another example of the misinterpretation of the laws of physics. I mean the fact that thirty – forty pounds of womanhood can stick straight out horizontally for any length of time is a miracle in itself. But just ask any big-busted granny how long that lasts! The only way to fix that is with Styrofoam. And on top of that, the added weight impacts directly on the woman’s back, encouraging a stooped posture. Well just check out the number of breast reductions being performed. That’ll tell you a thing or two.
See, the mistake we humans made goes back thousands of years when we were first emerging out of the trees. Human nature being what it is, we had to get into the savannahs to see what was there. The problem was that the grass was so tall, we couldn’t see what was in there, especially lions and tigers and other predators and creatures that liked to have us for lunch. Instead of being smart and retreating back to the trees, we stood up on our hind legs in order to see better. That still wasn’t good enough so we grew our legs longer. Well, that served well enough to evolve us into the hunters we became. The only problem was that we became unbalanced physically. So now, in order for the female breasts to hang down the way nature intended, they ended up in conflict with physics.
Mind you, if we’d gone back to four legged walking, women’s asses would have become the prominent feature, and we would now have the fashion issue I alluded to earlier. And the statement: ‘kiss my ass’ would have a whole new meaning. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Let the Games End

Let the Games End
Whew! I was getting to figure these games would never come to an end! The whole business is getting a trifle tiresome. Overkill, I guess. Now for heaven’s sake, they’re even agonizing over who will be the flag-bearer at the closing ceremonies.
I have a real problem with Canada’s whole position on the Olympics. Sure, there is some government funding available, but it falls far short of what’s needed to do the job properly. Each of the disciplines has to fight tooth and nail for every penny it can get its hands on and make do. And then, everything each athlete does is for the glory of Canada? That’s just so much malarkey. Do you really think these athletes would go through four years of the kind of grueling training they do just to distinguish Canada on behalf of their sport, especially given their pay scale? That’s just plain silly.
Let’s get a little bit real here. In the first place, these athletes love their particular sport. They go through all that training in order to be the best there is at it. In other words, its for the glory of the 1) athlete, and 2) the sport. They owe Canada or Canadians nothing. Canada and Canadians can be supportive by all means, and encouraging, without exacting a piece of the glory from the particular athlete, or even worse, punishing or disgracing him or her for failure.
Remember Ben Johnson in Seoul? He was the world’s fastest man AND HE WAS A CANADIAN! Then the shit hit the fan when he was disqualified in that doping scandal. Well – it turns out he wasn’t really Canadian after all. He was really a Jamaican. Shame on him. If that didn’t come back to bite us in the ass later, I don’t know what. We now find that the Jamaicans own the track. Had we, instead of pooh-poohing the whole Jamaican thing, had a look at how this has happened, we would know that in order to take ownership of athletics, we must give a little more. The Jamaicans have a different outlook on athletics than we do. By the time their children reach kindergarten or grade one at school, they already have propellers for legs. They are encouraged all through school by their teachers and have plenty of opportunity to compete. Not only that, but its nothing to fill a fifty thousand seat stadium to see these students perform. Moms, dads, brothers and sisters, grandparents are all there to see these athletes compete.
When’s the last time anything like that ever happened here in Canada? Probably when the Cree battled the Mohawks at lacrosse before any white man ever showed up. So you see, it isn’t the athletes who are or aren’t performing. They’re doing their job to the best of their ability. And if we want to ride on their backs, we’d better start to pony up and put our backs into it. Otherwise the glory should all go to the athletes. At least that’s how it looks from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

First Lady of the Olympics

The First Lady

A Tribute to Clara Hughes

What is the measure of man – or in this case - woman? It certainly isn’t the destination. That is only the goal. Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant. The real measure is how you undertake the journey to get to it. In that, Clara Hughes is a true champion, truly the first lady of the Olympics.
In the last Winter Olympics, I think Clara was skating in the 5,000-meter event when she won a silver medal. At the end of the race, she totally collapsed from exhaustion – I mean really collapsed. She arose, as in a dream and her victory shone all over her face. But it was not the victory you might think of. I mean, the silver medal was nice but that wasn’t it at all. It was the fact that she had commanded her mind, her spirit and her body to deliver up everything within her, leaving nothing behind – and had achieved it – that was the pinnacle of her achievement. ‘I am alive,’ she said, almost surprised.
Later, when she stood on the podium with Cindy Klassen, an equally accomplished and younger skater, the euphoria spread and Cindy, somewhat confused at first, couldn’t help but be swallowed up by it.
Then, just yesterday, after her cycling time trials ended in a fifth place finish; she had accomplished the same thing. She said with simple candor that she had given it her all, had emptied herself of everything she had, and was now satisfied. I take it to be the truth.
My children are all older than Clara, but I’ll tell you, she is a hero and role model for me. Every chance I get; I talk about her amazing spirit to my grandchildren as they pursue their dreams. Mind you, that doesn’t get me very far, but I try.
One of my grandsons plays football that way. When he was in high school I said to him, he should attack his school assignments the way he plays ball. Politely said, he just kind of laughed at me. Therein lies the rub. It’s the difference between doing what you love and loving what you do. There needn’t be a dividing line between the two.
Certainly Clara provides a model for us to demonstrate to our children of what they can accomplish, and the incredible rewards of the journey. We should pay attention, listen and learn from the first lady of life itself. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.
Just sayin’.